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Ann Arbor may vote on a public art tax


A public art tax may be on the ballot in Ann Arbor this November. The millage would replace the city's current system of funding art installations.

Right now the city has something called the "Percent for Art" program. It sets aside one percent of the budget on capital projects for art installations.  But here's the thing: that art has to be directly linked to whatever project funded it. For example, a $750,000 water sculpture in front of city hall, paid for with storm water utilities.

Christopher Taylor is on the city council. He says a millage would offer a lot more flexibility for public art. "Think about the Gates in Central Park - we could have the Gates here in Gallop Park! It could support local arts events that are enjoyed by Ann Arbor residents every year such as festivals, with the primary criterion being public benefit rather than the specific nature of the funding source."

The council still has to decide whether to put the issue on November's ballot. The millage would last for four years and raise about $460,000 dollars a year.

It would cost the average homeowner about $10 a year, if your home is worth $200,000 on the market. 

Kate Wells is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently covering public health. She was a 2023 Pulitzer Prize finalist for her abortion coverage.